Thursday, 28 April 2016

Christine and the Queens: Tilted on Later with Jools Holland

Delighted to see an appearance by Christine and the Queens on Later with Jools Holland. A high-profile
appearance on the TV in the UK for one of France's finest artists.

For all its faults, Later with Jools Holland remains one of the UK's most respected music shows. It's been running for decades and an appearance on the show remains for many a breakthrough that often leads to further significant commercial and critical success.

With Christine and the Queens having established beyond doubt their reputation in the francophone world, it would be quite somthing if 2016 was the year she attracted the same kind of recognition in the UK.

A good track to perform in front of a British audience, and her take on I feel for you was, however brief, a lovely touch. It fitted perfectly with her style and serves as a reminder that Prince was the kind of artist who opened doors for many artists who would have previously been consigned to the margins.

Christine and the Queens play at the Roundhouse in London on May 3 before embarking on a series of dates in North America later in the month.

Grand Blanc: Bruxelles Ma Belle session

Nice session by Grand Blanc filmed at the Autoworld car museum in Brussels.

The video comes courtesy of Bruxelles Ma Belle. who I probably should be paying closer attention to given the quality of the material they've been producing.

The track Disque Sombre comes from the band's Mémoires Vives debut album which was released in February this year.

Grand Blanc have just finished the first part of their tour, which saw them play in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

They have forthcoming live dates in May and festival appearances over the summer include Rock en Seine and the Beauregard Music Festival.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Calogero: Le monde moderne

A new video by Calogero, with the track Le Monde Moderne the latest from his Les feux d'artifice to get the high-profile visual treatment.

Since his sixth album came out in 2014, it's proven to have a long commercial lifespan. A number one seller, it's sold some 700,000 copies since it came out, sustained by six previous singles.

Le Monde Moderne was written by Calogero's partner Marie Bastide, whose previous work includes songs for Céline Dion and Florent Pagny, as well as the award-winning song Un jour au mauvais endroit, the first single from Calogero's Les feux d'artifice.

The video by Amélie Harrault is a tasteful piece of work, a nod to the likes of Jules Verne and the 19th century French view of the future, both beautiful and surreal.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Festival: Fête de l’Humanité 2016

The first names have been confirmed for the 2016 Fête de l’Humanité festival.

Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy are at the top of the bill, alongside other names including The 1975 and Caribbean Dandee featuring JoeyStarr and Nathy

The event is a major annual fundraiser for the L'humanité newspaper, which recently launched a major fight for its survival asking supporters to back the paper.  L'Humanité has historically been aligned with the French Communist Party, but they make the point that the  struggle they face goes beyond party politics and the issue is at heart one of plurality in the media.

The #lHumaniteCestNous campaign has attracted widespread support, with names such as Renaud backing the paper.

The Fête de l’Humanité festival is of course more than just a music event, although over the decades it has attracted many of the biggests names to its cause, with debates and discussions held for activists throughout.

More names will be addded to the bill between now and September.

la Fête de l’Humanité takes place on Septemer 9, 10 and 11 at the Georges-Valbon park in  La Courneuve in Seine-Saint-Denis.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Christine and the Queens at Coachella

If Glastonbury Festival underwent a Hollywood re-make, it would probably be something like Coachella.

The beautiful people at play, a stylish and well-heeled audience and a cast of thousands on stage and the drama of acts making a potentially massive impression on a north American audience.

This year it was the time of Christine and the Queens, and while the likes of Guns 'n' Roses and LCD Sound System grabbed headlines, France's favourite certainly rose to the occasion.

Last year Stromae took to the stage at Coachella and it established him as a major player in the USA, going on to sold-out tour dates a short time later, no small achievement for a francophone artist.

Christine and the Queens performed an English language set, following the release of the new edition of her Chaleur Humaine album in a more anglo-friendly format. She's a unique performer, and it seems many across the Atlantic have now say up and taken notive.

She spoke to Vogue magazine about playing Coachella, telling reporters how she would stay up to watch the live streaming of the festival.

Christine and the Queens are no strangers to playing live in the USA, having toured with Marina and the Diamonds, but after Coachella I reckon she'll be the headline act next time she plays there.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Festival: Printemps de Bourges

Today sees the first say of the Printemps de Bourges festival, an event that really marks the starts of this
year's major music festival diary.

The event, which been held annually since the late 70s, celebrates its 40th birthday this year and runs until Sunday.

It features a massive and varied bill playing several venues in the town, with acts from the developing to the well established. Electro, chanson, rock and hip hop are all well-represented

The first night features Marina Kaye, LEJ and Mika, while another show includes Grand Blanc, Flavien Berger and Bagarre. The second includes Jain and Louise Attaque.

La Grande Sophie is one of the many acts on the 14th, while anothe show that night features Rover, Feu! Chatterton and Jeanne Added.

The Friday features Dominique A, while on Saturday night there's a show including Griefjoy, La Femme and Thylacine. On the last night there's a sold-out show by Maitre Gims.

Plenty of names familiar to readers ofthis blog, and a great many others playing too. Some free shows, and some great new talent to investigate alongside some big names.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Renaud: J'ai embrassé un flic

A new single from Renaud, as the veteran chanteur releases his much anticipated new album.

J'ai embrassé un flic is vintage quality Renaud. It's the kind of song that makes you put aside whatever doubts you might have about his return, funny and serious at the same time.

Renaud says it's based on a true story, telling RTL it happened on January 11 2015, during the post Charlie Hebdo demonstration  that saw thousands in the streets in Paris, where demonstrators and police were united in solidarity for the victims.

It follows the release of the track Toujours Debout.

Renaud's new album is released today, Renaud himself seeming in good health and ready to tour from October this year through to March next year on his aptly names Phénix tour.

 He has extensive dates across France, a run of shows at the Zénith in Paris, and show in London on October 17 has been added to his schedule.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

We Are Match: Violet - C à vous

A live appearance by We Are Match on French evening TV chat show C à vous with a version of the song Violet.

Violet features on the Paris-based five piece's debut album Shores, released in autumn last year. The track Radical was released with a great video just last month.

We Are Match release a new EP on April 8, Shores: The Grand Budapest Orchestra which features orchestral versions of their songs, the band performing with the orchestra.

They're on tour at the moment having played at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris at the end of last month, and they've got a show as part of the Chorus Hauts de Seine festival in La Défense on April 7.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Mylène Farmer: City of Love

Another number one single, the latest in a very long list, for Mylène Farmer with the song City of Love reaching the top of the charts this week following its physical release.

The song features on Farmer's most recent album Interstellaires, her tenth, released in November last year. It follows the track Stolen Car, a duet with Sting, which was the first single released from the album.

The two tarck CD release of the song features the original version of the track from the album, as well as a remix featuring Shaggy, while the 12 inch features an instrumental as well as the originak take.

The song was produced by Martin Kierszenbaum, a seriously big player in the US music scene, and boss of the record label that Farmer is signed to in America.

Hopefully she'll continue to make an impression on the North American market, although given the levels of success she's enjoyed of the years it'll hardly make or break hear career,

It's Mylène's fifteenth number one since 1988, including a duet with Sting and another with Moby. No small achievement for any artist.

A video for City of Love emerged at the end of last year, a clip with a very different flavour to its predecessor, but very much in the tradition of high-concept videos that Mylène has pioneered since the start of her career.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Rover: Acoustic session

A great session featuring Rover on Acoustic this week, the music show on TV5Monde.

Tracks featured on the show include Call My Name, Some Needs, HCYD, Along and Innerhum.

The show also features interviews with Rover, the singer known to his family and friends as Timothée Régnier.

Rover's second album Let it Glow was released at the end of last year.

Festival: Solidays 2016

More details have been revealed of this year's Solidays festival, one of the summer's most important
music events in France.

With its Summer of Love theme, the event as always has a focus on Aids solidarity. With an audience of around 180,000 and 80 shows over three days, the festival at the Longchamp racetrack on the outskirts of Paris is one of the year's key French festivals.

M83, Cypress Hill and Louise Attaque, as well as Jain, Synapson and Flume have already been named on the bill.

New additions include The Avener, Feu! Chatterton and Jeanne Added, all acts that will be familiar to regular visitors to this blog. Also there will be St Germain, Bagarre, Rover and Mr Oizo.

 Many other acts have been confirmed, and yet more to be added before the event.

Solidays is held this year from June 24-26 and tickets are now on sale.

Teaser Solidays 2016 by solidays

Editorial: April 2016

March has been an astonishing month for traffic to the site, not just setting a new record but smashing
 any previous record into little pieces. I can't think of a better way for us to mark our sixth anniversary.

If it's your first time here, thanks for coming, and I hope you come again. If you've been here before hope you're still enjoying it.

It comes after a month that saw me battle the flu, but also a month that featured our interview with Feu! Chatterton.

I don't know if it was their first English language interview, but it was thrilling to get the chance to question one of France's most impressive acts in recent years.

Hopefully we'l have some more interview pieces on the blog before too long. Watch this space.

March again saw terrorism rear its head in Europe, again the francophone music world stood up defiantly. Belgium often gets a raw deal in terms of international recognition, but the country of Brel and Stromae has always been close to our heart.

It's shaping up to quietly be a vintage year for French music. Last month Christine and the Queens played a sold-out show in London, their May show at the Roundhouse in London has also sold out.

April sees the long-awaited new album from M83 emerging. It may be titled Junk, but the content will be far more than that.

The Printemps de Bourges festival is held this month, marking the start of the 2016 festival season. With LEJ, Grand Blanc, La Grande Sopie, La Femme, Dominique A and Nekfeu it features some of France's key acts, both emerging and established acts

This month also sees Record Store Day on April 16, I'll be taking a look at the French flavoured releases this year in the UK and France.

As always, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be. I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do get in touch.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always to the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K